A Return to Nabusanga Primary School - Day 1
Day by De has an ongoing project at Nabusanga Primary School in Kabwe, a few hours north of Lusaka. With funding assistance from ERM Group, Inc., we are building a chicken farm, or chicken run, for the school. This project will pair with the school garden that was designed and funded by Day by De as one of its first projects. The chicken manure will replace the need for expensive fertilizer in the garden at no additional cost. Together, these produce nutritious food for school lunches while excess is sold to pay for school supplies and operational fees. Many of the students struggle to afford food and these lunches may be their only meal of the day. It is reported that school attendance noticeably increased after the garden was built, attributed to the availability of these free lunches. We hope that the chicken run will support this trend.
Zambia recently began requiring that schools have a garden or animal farm on its property to provide such benefits. Nabusanga has been used as a poster child of this new rule and serves as a role model for others to follow nationwide.
I also inspected the school garden. The garden is still going strong and clearly being attentively maintained by the students and staff. They are currently growing a variety of crops including tomatoes, spinach, carrots, onion, African eggplant, maize, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, okra, beetroots, and green pepper.
Back at Gonde Lodge, I met a local at the bar from Kabwe named Amusa. After having a somewhat deep discussion about religion, he told me about racism he experienced while studying in China. Being an Asian-American, I've experienced some in America, but not like him. On a train in China, a woman approached him and, without saying a word, rubbed some paper on his skin to see if it would turn black. She then asked if he was a real person. Racism, even if more accurately ignorance, is everywhere apparently. Ironically, his twin brother visited us at the bar and greeted me in Chinese. I jokingly responded that he must be from Ethiopia because he's black. Everyone here, and many in America, assume I'm Chinese. I got the same when I spent a month in Honduras. I like to inform such people that Asia is a very large continent with many countries, including South Korea. And still, I'm American. Such encounters no longer offend me. I understand ignorance and don't hold it against them.
Back in my room waiting for dinner, I heard a knock. Chileshe informed me that Mr. Mulenga, the father of the host family Victor and I stayed with last year, had surprised me with a visit. I have kept in contact with his wife, a Nabusanga teacher, and saw her today at the school. When her husband heard I was here, he made sure to visit me at the Lodge. It was great to reunite with him and catch up over dinner and drinks. Due to some miscommunication with Gonde Lodge reservations, I will need a place to stay Wednesday night. The Mulenga's refer to me as their son and have offered to host me again Wednesday night. One of the more memorable things that happened at their home last year was Victor and I helped cook caterpillars for dinner. I mentioned it to Mr. Mulenga and he promptly called his wife asking her to buy some so we can eat them again. That may not have been the message I was trying to convey, but when in Zambia, do as the Zambians do.
Tomorrow, we'll return to Nabusanga bright and early and finish most of the chicken run construction. I'm excited to continue making progress on this impactful project.